2016’s Most Knowingly False Accusation Takes Nasty Racist Turn

We’ve talked a number of times about a specific line of attack targeting Democratic SD-19 candidate Rachel Zenzinger, falsely alleging that Zenzinger had “voted to use taxpayer money on a trip to China” while serving as an Arvada city councillor. As Politifact Colorado and every other objective look at this accusation has found, it’s completely false: not only did Zenzinger never visit China, she introduced the motion barring the use of taxpayer dollars on any such trip.

The “China Girl” attack on Zenzinger was thoroughly debunked by in 2014 when it was originally used, which made its recycling in 2016 much more arguably a case of making a knowingly false statement in a political ad–a crime under Colorado law.

Regardless, this week the organization responsible for the ad ruled “Pants on Fire” by Politifact Colorado, Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government,  sent another mail piece to SD-19 voters making the same false charge:


Now, the first problem with this mail piece is the eye-poppingly racist Photoshopping of a traditional Vietnamese straw hat, known as a non la, onto Rachel Zenzinger’s head. We shouldn’t even have to point out that this ad is about an alleged trip to China, which is not Vietnam, and they in fact wear different straw hats in China.

We assume nobody at Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government could, you know, tell the difference.

But as bad as the racism in this latest mail piece is, that may not even be the worst part. Looking closely at this ad, you can see they quote the Mayor of Arvada, Marc Williams. The citation for that quote on this mailer is “Channel 7 News, Denver, 7/5/16.”

Understand this, folks: that’s Politifact Colorado’s fact-check! The one that ruled this claim “Pants on Fire” false! The mailer conveniently omits the rest of Williams’ statement in that story:

[Williams] stressed that she also made the subsequent successful motion “with the explicit direction that no city funds be used.” [Pols emphasis]

This mail piece was produced after Politifact Colorado’s July 5th fact-check of CCAG’s previous mailer on the same subject. That means that Sen. Laura Woods’ allies at CCAG read that fact-check, disregarded its conclusion, and used a hacked-up quote for it to further mislead voters about the same completely debunked charge.

The only reasonable conclusion with all these facts in mind is that CCAG knows they are lying, and are overtly contemptuous of the media’s ability to correct the record. They have concluded that more voters will see their false accusation than will ever see the debunking, and they simply have no sense of accountability to anyone. We can’t imagine what Alan Gathright and the folks at Politifact will say about being given this brazen middle finger by a major Republican 527, but that’s obviously what they’re doing.

If that is not outrageous to every voter on an objective level, we don’t know what is. And if there was ever a case ripe for prosecution under Colorado’s much-debated law against knowingly lying in our elections, this has to be it.

Darryl Glenn Holding Onto 18-Point Deficit in Senate Race

Darryl Glenn in his most accurate campaign metaphor.

Darryl Glenn (R-Rear)

If you are a Republican or a supporter of Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, here’s the good news: Glenn isn’t losing by 20 points (yet).

Just one week after Glenn laughably claimed that he was running in a “virtual tie” with Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver), Quinnipiac University released new polling data on Colorado’s Senate race that pretty much confirms what everyone else already knew:

Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet leads El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, the Republican challenger 56 – 38 percent, widening a 52 – 43 percent lead September 23…

…Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has a 62 – 30 percent lead among independent likely voters. He gets Democrats 95 – 1 percent, while Republicans go to Darryl Glenn 90 – 9 percent.

Bennet also leads among men, women, white and non-white voters. [Pols emphasis] 

Sure, Sen. Bennet may have a lead among people of every sex and race, but there’s no indication that Glenn has lost support among asexual reptiles.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 18)

Get More SmarterIf the 2016 election is as rigged as Donald Trump claims, can we just go ahead and declare Hillary Clinton the winner and save everyone a few weeks of yammering? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Your ballot is in the mail (probably). Election officials began mailing out ballots on Monday, which means Coloradans could be casting their 2016 votes as soon as Wednesday. For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location. Denver7 also includes a good list of election-related information.


► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is in Colorado today, making campaign stops in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction, just as a new poll shows Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton maintaining a healthy lead in our state thanks in part to a big boost from Unaffiliated voters. Trump will have to deal with plenty of questions today about his absurd claims that the election is being rigged against him; election officials (from both political parties) across the state condemned Trump’s fraud allegations in no uncertain terms.

Why is Trump so freaked out? Perhaps because he is on pace for an historic beatdown on Election Day.

Elsewhere on the top stump, Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence will be making a stop in Durango on Wednesday. On Monday, Clinton’s former Primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, wrapped up a two-day visit to Colorado aimed at encouraging GOTV and voter registration efforts.


► Democrat Gail Schwartz seems to have the momentum in her CD-3 challenge of incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Durango). Schwartz doubled Tipton’s fundraising haul in Q3, and has picked up endorsements from the Durango Herald and the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Here’s an excerpt from today’s Sentinel endorsement:

Republican Scott Tipton wants a fourth term in the U.S. House representing the people of Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District.

We think Democrat Gail Schwartz is a better alternative.

That should say something. In the past three general elections, we’ve endorsed Tipton twice, along with Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate in 2014 — all Republicans.

But in an era of unprecedented partisanship and gridlock on Capitol Hill, we need lawmakers who can put the needs of the district over party interests — or their own…

…We think Schwartz leans left far less than Tipton leans right. We think it’s time a more moderate representative got a crack at advocating for the interests of the district.



Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Tuesday Open Thread

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

–Bill Gates

“Even Quinnipiac” Shows Clinton Pulling Away in Colorado

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

New polling numbers out today from oft-questioned national pollster Quinnipiac University show what everyone expects to see right now: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton expanding her lead over Republican Donald Trump:

Independent likely voters shift to Democrat Hillary Clinton, giving her the lead over Republican Donald Trump in the critical swing states of Colorado, Florida, and Pennsylvania and moving her into a tie with Trump in Ohio, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

Clinton also has double-digit leads among women likely voters and leads of 28 to 76 percentage points among non-white voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.

Four-way races which list both presidential and vice-presidential candidates, show:

Colorado: Clinton tops Trump 45 – 37 percent, with 10 percent for Johnson and 3 percent for Stein. Clinton had 44 percent to Trump’s 42 percent September 22…

“Secretary Clinton has held or increased her lead following the second debate,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Obviously the allegations by a number of women about Donald Trump’s behavior have taken a toll among some of those who had been in his column.”

Our experience with Quinnipiac’s polling is that they seem to frequently post outlier results early in the election cycle, often favoring Republican candidates, only to track back closer to polling averages as Election Day approaches. Setting aside scientific variables, there’s a definite PR advantage to announcing dramatic game-changing numbers early in the season–but you don’t want to be the outlier on the day of the election.

This election, perhaps Q-pac has decided not to get caught with their britches down.

Trump’s Rigged Election Claims Backfiring in Colorado

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump may have realized finally that he isn’t likely to be the next resident of the White House, which is why he is busy trying to create a soft landing for himself in three weeks. Trump can feel better about losing to Democrat Hillary Clinton if he can convince people that this whole thing was rigged against him from the start…except, it’s not.

Colorado political reporter Ernest Luning has been dutifully keeping up with various responses from Colorado election officials regarding Trump’s increasing claims that the 2016 election is “rigged.” Lynn Bartels of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office wins the quotation battle today, responding to Trump claims of voter fraud by saying, “I can say on Twitter I’m a super model, but that doesn’t make it so.”

The Colorado County Clerks’ Association is equally adamant that there is no anti-Trump conspiracy at play in Colorado:

If you’re looking for some sort of factual basis on which Trump is relying in order to push his “rigged election” narrative, you’re going to be disappointed. If you have your heart set on believing any of this nonsense, you can have fun with this chart from the Washington Post.

Laura Woods Forgives Trump for Lewd Comments About Women

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

(Par for the course — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) has forgiven Trump for his comments about sexually assaulting women, according to an Associated Press story today, raising more questions for local media about the impact of Trump’s candidacy on Woods’ state senate race that will likely determine whether Democrats flip Colorado’s legislature in November.

Woods has made no secret of her longstanding support for Trump, calling him the “people’s candidate,” but her comments to the AP go further in explaining why she’s sticking with Trump: She does not believe she’ll win her district unless Trump carries it.

Here’s what Woods told the AP’s David A. Lieb:

Republicans currently hold a precarious single-seat advantage over Democrats in the Colorado Senate, while Democrats hold just a three-seat lead in the House. One of the most pivotal races is in Denver’s western suburbs, where Republican Sen. Laura Woods faces a rematch against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, who held the seat in 2014.

Woods says a Democratic-backed political group has targeted her in automated phone calls linking her to Trump. But Woods, a self-described Christian conservative, says she has forgiven Trump for his sexual comments and will not abandon him.

“I think if Donald Trump wins my district, I’m likely to,” Wood said. “And if Hillary Clinton wins my district, my opponent is likely to win.”

The comments could explain why Woods turned to Twitter to defend Trump after the Hollywood Access Video was released, retweeting a Breitbart story headlined, “Criminal Aliens Sexually Assault 70,000 American Women — But Paul Ryan Targets Trump.”

Woods unusual public effort to downplay the seriousness of Trump’s comments can be seen as an attempt to shore up Trump support in her own district, which she sees the key to her defeating Democrat Rachel Zenzinger next month.

Woods’ decision to openly forgive Trump, at least for his comments and possibly for his actual alleged sexual assaults, contrasts with other Colorado Republicans who openly declared after the release of the video that they will not vote for the mogul.

It makes for yet another interesting angle on Woods’ all-important state senate 19 race, which has yet to attract the attention it deserves from legacy media outlets.


Get More Smarter on Monday (October 17)

Get More SmarterThe ballots are coming! The ballots are coming! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► The end (of this election cycle) is near. Mail ballots will start going out today, which means some lucky Coloradans could be voting as soon as Wednesday. As John Frank explains for the Denver Post:

This week, the 2016 election gets real.

Colorado election officials will begin mailing ballots Monday to more than 3,125,300 active voters, and the initial wave of votes is expected by the end of the week.

The first mail-ballot presidential election marks a fundamental shift in how elections are managed in Colorado and introduces significant variables to the political calculus that will determine the winners.

“Election Day is really a misnomer,” said Eric Sondermann, a Colorado political analyst. “All Election Day is now is the day the ballots are counted. It’s no longer the day ballots are cast.”

The new math is forcing the candidates to revamp their strategy and make their final push weeks earlier than other states as the campaign moves to the “ballot chase” phase.

For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location.


► Former Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders finishes up a quick visit to Colorado today with rallies in Boulder and Ft. Collins. Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren were in Denver on Sunday for a GOTV rally in support of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.


► On the Republican side, Donald Trump, Jr. is campaigning for his father in Boulder today, though a potential campaign event at iconic restaurant The Sink was nixed by the establishment’s owners (Junior was also scheduled to speak in Centennial Monday morning). The Big Orange Candidate himself will be in Colorado on Tuesday, with planned visits in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.

Donald Trump continues to lay out a nice bed of failure in advance of Election Day, amping up his claims that the 2016 election is going to be rigged against him. As Ernest Luning notes via Twitter, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is not amused:

Trump is very angry that his fellow Republicans aren’t buying his “rigged election” theory.



Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Donald Trump Junior Grabs Boulder By The P – – – y

UPDATE #3: Via the Boulder Daily Camera:

Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign appearance in Boulder this afternoon has been moved from The Sink to a commercial space on Pearl Street after the owner of the University Hill restaurant complained he had been unaware of the event.

The event is now scheduled to take place at 4:30 p.m. at 714 Pearl St., an unoccupied commercial space owned by developer Stephen Tebo.

Somebody get Junior a new advance man.


UPDATE #2: Junior’s event in Boulder is still on, somewhere:


UPDATE: The Sink’s owners put the kibosh on Junior’s campaign event inside their restaurant:

Donald Trump Jr. is welcome to visit the The Sink, but not to hold a campaign event on the restaurant’s premises, owner Mark Heinritz said today.

“If he wants to come in and be a guest, that’s fine,” Heinritz said. “We do not discriminate and we will not discriminate. If he wants it to be a campaign event, he can do that outside.”

Guess he should have asked permission.


Donald Trump, Jr. holding an elephant's tail.

Donald Trump, Jr. holding an elephant’s tail.

As the Boulder Daily Camera reports, Donald Trump Jr. is making a campaign stop in the People’s Republic on behalf of his pa this afternoon:

Donald Trump Jr. will travel to Boulder on Monday to speak with supporters of his father’s presidential bid and campaign volunteers, the Donald Trump campaign announced Sunday morning.

Trump’s son is scheduled to appear at 4:30 p.m. Monday at The Sink, 165 13th St., following a morning campaign appearance in Centennial, according to an email from the campaign.

Junior’s campaign stop at The Sink appears to be news to…well, The Sink:

Laura Thoman, a manager at The Sink, said Sunday afternoon that no one from the Trump campaign had contacted the restaurant.

“We’ve had a lot of famous people here, but we usually get some advanced warning,” she said.

No other details of the Boulder event have been released.

Contacted later Sunday afternoon, Lydia B. Blaha, the Trump campaign’s Colorado communications director, said the event is expected to take place inside The Sink.

The Sink released a statement that makes little attempt to hide their displeasure over the Trump campaign’s presumptuousness:

The Sink would like to thank the Denver Post and the Daily Camera for making us aware of the Trump campaign’s plans to use our restaurant as a campaign location while Donald Trump Jr. is in Boulder, Colo. Normally, organizations ask permission to use our property–we would like to make clear that the Trump campaign has not asked for our permission or made any attempt to contact us. We did not organize or encourage this event to happen. [Pols emphasis]

The Sink says they will nonetheless accommodate Junior’s unsanctioned presence, because “discrimination is still a primary issue in our society”–and they hope Boulder residents will respect The Sink as “an organization that is willing to remain accessible to all political and personal viewpoints.” Zing!

Why didn’t Trump’s campaign feel the need to even ask permission? You already know the answer, Boulder:

Because when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Darryl Glenn: The Full Circle of Asinine

Darryl Glenn (right).

Darryl Glenn (right).

CNN reports–GOP U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, after joining the chorus of Republicans calling for Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race, then declaring he would not even vote for Trump, then claiming to have been sufficiently impressed by Trump’s second debate performance to be “reconsidering,” then saying in a debate last week that his Trump endorsement was “suspended,” is now as of this weekend back on the “Trump Train.”

Sort of:

One week after calling on Donald Trump to step aside as the Republican nominee, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado now says he will vote for him on Election Day, according to audio obtained by CNN’s KFile.

Darryl Glenn, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, issued a statement when news broke of Trump’s lewd comments on a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, calling on Trump to voluntarily step aside and saying the GOP nominee was “simply disqualified from being Commander-in-Chief.”

A week later, however, Glenn now says he’ll vote for Trump but still doesn’t endorse him…

“So where I’m at right now is that I absolutely will be supporting the Republican platform and voting for Mr. Trump,” Glenn said. “I will not be personally endorsing Mr. Trump and there is a clear distinction. When I personally endorse you that means I know your heart, I know your character and I can personally attest to that and I can not. If that changes we can revisit that, when it comes to evaluating the policies of what we’re going to be able to do with regard to weighing the Republican policy platform versus the Democrats, it is not even a choice. I will be voting for the Republican ticket and Republican candidates.”

Here’s the tl;dr version: Darryl Glenn is all over the map on Trump, and his multiple flip-flops in the space of a week are a metaphor for the whole Republican Party’s convulsions ahead of an increasingly likely Election Day bloodbath. Instead of elevating himself above Trump’s offenses, Glenn has completely impaled himself on them, and made Republicans everywhere look like fools by proxy.

As for Glenn personally it really doesn’t matter much, because he was going to lose by a mile anyway.

Sanders, Warren Tag-Team Colorado For Progressive Votes

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren.

As the Washington Post reports, two Team Blue favorites are headed to town to pitch for Hillary Clinton:

The event in Denver, Sanders said in an interview, will be an opportunity “to make the case to the progressive community that it is absolutely imperative for [Republican nominee] Donald Trump to be defeated.”

But Sanders, the runner-up in the Democratic primaries, said he will arrive with a secondary goal in mind: to rally like-minded voters around implementing the Democratic platform adopted at the party’s convention in Philadelphia in July…

During a recent chat, Sanders said, he and Warren decided that they wanted to do an event together geared at the progressive community. Both have been appearing separately on behalf of Clinton. Warren was among those considered a potential Clinton running mate this year.

Sanders acknowledged that there is still work to be done shoring up support for Clinton among the party’s left wing.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two of the most popular figures among the progressive Democratic base, and were each held up by Clinton’s Republican opponents as potentially divisive among Democrats at various points during the Democratic primary campaign. Since Clinton’s nomination Sanders has done his best to bring his fractious-by-nature coalition around to Clinton, and a visit from these two progressive luminaries will help Colorado’s substantial contingent of leftie voters–both Democratic and left-leaning independents–do what they need to do.

The Washington Post doesn’t mention it, but Sanders will also be speaking in favor of Amendment 69, the ColoradoCare single-payer health care initiative at events in Boulder and Fort Collins on Monday. Sanders’ Our Revolution organization endorsed the measure as one of its first actions after Sanders conceded the nomination to Clinton.

We’ll update on the VW bus tour as reports come in.

Caption This Photo, Morans!

Charles Ashby at the Grand Junction Sentinel Tweets a memorable photo from yesterday’s pro-Donald Trump rally in Grand Junction:

“Where is the emails?” asks ‘Merica! Answer: they’ve been “destored.”

It’s okay, though. As long as they can find the bubble next to “Trump,” their vote will count.

The Biggest Fish Darryl Glenn Ever Caught

So, uh…this seems unlikely:

Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn has shown throughout his Senate campaign that he has a penchant for stretching the truth. Earlier this week, Glenn claimed in a fundraising email that he was polling in a “virtual tie” with incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. As we noted in this space on Tuesday, Glenn’s claim that the Senate race was a dead heat comes despite a Real Clear Politics polling average that has Bennet leading the race by a solid 11.3%.

Darryl Glenn may have outraised Michael Bennet last quarter. He may also be a unicorn.

Darryl Glenn may have outraised Michael Bennet last quarter. He may also be a unicorn.

Pretending to be in a tight race when every public poll shows otherwise is a pretty bold fib, but nothing like this fundraising claim. According to campaign finance reports between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, Glenn raised A GRAND TOTAL of $347,426. If we are to believe Glenn that he has raised $2.8 million since July, that would mean that he raised EIGHT TIMES more money in the last three months than he had cobbled together in the entire 18 months prior to this reporting period.

Is it possible that Glenn really did outraise Bennet in the last three months, despite polls showing him to be running nearly 20 points behind the incumbent? It is…possible…just like it is possible that your next-door neighbor will be quarterbacking the Denver Broncos when the team next takes the field on Oct. 24.

If Glenn really did have such a spectacular quarter of fundraising, why would he wait until Friday afternoon to say anything? Glenn was asked about his prior fundraising claims in a Senate debate on Tuesday, and repeatedly ducked and dodged the queries from 9News anchor Kyle Clark. As we detailed in our “Debate Diary”:

Clark asks about Glenn’s poor fundraising, specifically about a discussion he had with Glenn last spring when Glenn said there would be lots of money and that it would prove Clark’s question false. Clark says, “Now, you finished dead last in fundraising. Why lie to a journalist reporting a story to the public?”

Glenn tries to shift the subject to be about how fundraising doesn’t make the candidate. Clark stops him to say that the question is about honesty, not fundraising, and about Glenn claiming that he would have strong financial backing before the GOP Primary.

Naturally…Glenn responds again about how fundraising doesn’t make the candidate and that Clark is disrespecting people who make small donations to his campaign.

You know what would be a pretty good answer to those questions from Clark? I just outraised Bennet this quarter to the tune of $2.8 million.

Look, it’s theoretically possible that Darryl Glenn raised a ridiculous amount of money in the last three months despite being almost completely ignored by Republicans in Colorado and across the country. It’s more likely that Glenn is telling a complete lie to reporters because he knows that nobody will be able to confirm these numbers until the Senate finance reports are made publicly available in 7-10 days. Glenn will be called out for lying about his fundraising numbers at that point, but by then ballots will have already arrived in the mail for most voters, and his bullshit will have no practical effect on the 2016 election.

But until then, Glenn can — and apparently will — say whatever the hell he wants.